but I will not go into the consideration of that question. My noble friend seems, however, very much to undervalue the security which the intimate connection between the protestant establishment and the government gives to the constitution. My own view of the Revolution of 1688 is this—that the church establishment of the country, as it nowekists, having always been anobjectofaffection to the government, the Revolution was as much founded upon the principle that the state should be protestant as that the monarchy should be limited. The object sought by that great event was the maintenance of our religious, civil, and political liberties together. “In viewing this question, let me entreat noble i. to consider upon what principle you can justify the limitation of the crown to a protestant succession, if this question, as of right, can be admitted You have done away all restrictions upon the catholics short of political power, and now it is desired to surrender that. If this is a question of expediency I can understand it; but if it is argued as a question of right, you have no alternative, and you can do nothing else. That they will not stop at the point that we may think expedient is pretty evident—the prayer of this petition is for every thing. You are not desired to consider their case with a view to give them any particular privilege, or a part of what they ask ; but you are called upon not only to give every thing, but to consider their demand upon the ground of right. My lords, it is an essential principle of your protestant constitution, that your king be a protestant; yet I ask upon what principle of justice it is you can exclude the catholics from having a catholic prince in possession of the crown : If you surrender what they now claim, then I would ask you, would you put a Ro

man catholic family on the throne: and if you would not, how could you exclude the Roman catholics, if it be their right, from the benefit of having a catholic monarch 2 I do therefore maintain, that the very essence and principle of the Revolution was that you should have a limited monarchy; and that the state should be protestant. I am thoroughly satisfied that in the present state of things, no benefit can arise from the discussion of this subject. You are called upon to make, not a particular concession, but to concede the whole; and upon grounds, as I think, inconsistent with the general security of the establishment of your country; and therefore I give my opposition to this motion.” Having thus submitted ample speci. mens of the sentiments and reasonings of the leading men in both houses of parliament on each side of this great question, the chapter shall be concluded by a few general reflections. Every man who is capable of taking a dispassionate view of this, subject, must be aware, that in the heat of controversy many very silly arguments have been urged on both sides, from which it were well if the subject could be disencumbered. It would be too much to say, that even the discussions of the legislature have been untainted with this species of folly, ge. nerated in the violence of debate, and the desire of victory; while the proceedings of the catholics themselves have been wholly stained and debased by the most despicable extravagances. It might have been supposed, for instance, that a general assent would have been given to some leading propositions, not less obvious to common sense than to the most refined philosophy; viz. That the end of all free governments is the general benefit of society; that the greatest benefit is produced by the equal par

* ticipation of all classes of the people in the rights and privileges of the constitution; and that under such a government, therefore, all the subjects are entitled to the same privileges, unless some weighty reasons can be urged to justify an exception. The right of the people may not be what is called an at: right, that is, it cannot be vindicated by force, since no abstract reasoning can for a moment imply an appeal to force against the Supreme power of the state. But all classes of the people have a fair and unquestionable claim, in justice and policy, to an equal participation, not of some but of all the privileges which are enjoyed by their fellow subjects, a claim which cannot belawfully resisted, unless some strong case of necessity is made out to justify the exclusion. The necessity which creates also limits the fight exercised by the supreme power; and any disability imposed, any abatement of privilege—without a cogent reason to justify it,--is an act of mere tyranny. It is not the business of him who is excluded or oppressed to shew that he may be safely admitted to the *joyment of his rights; he pleads the great and general #. which sustains the very being of society, and requires "t arguments to make it out ; his * is established if his adversary, on whom the whole burden of the proof * cannot justify the exception.— * reflections expose the folly of 5 distinction which is so ignorantly *" by some persons—a distinction oxt toleration and power—a distinction which falsely assumes, that if Pons whose religious sentiments dif* from those of the established church are merely tolerated, they have * ight to complain, and that their olution from power requires no jus"fication. The Catholić or the is. *r have an irresistible answer to * Puerilities; they are entitled to *y that what is called power is their

birth-right, as well as that of their fellow-citizens, and unless it can be proved that there is a clear advantage to the state, in giving a monopoly of powers to certain classes, and that there would be danger in admitting others to an equal participation, no benefit can be derived from the distinction. The extent to which the measures of exclusion ought to be carried, is a question, not of principle but of degree: and the catholic or dissenter is still injured, if he be deprived but of one insignificant privilege, to which his fellow subjects are entitled. He who owes a debt, does not discharge it by paying one half, nor by paying up to the last shilling, if that shilling be still withheld ; the catholic is the creditor of the state for his natural privileges; and unless, he has done something to forfeit them, no part can be refused him. Those who resist catholic emancipation on such grounds, are the worst enemies of that cause which they are so forward to espouse. Lord Wellesley declared, “that the claim of the catholics is not a claim of right; that the question before the legislature was a question of mere political expediency.” He must by this have meant to express his disapprobation of the doctrines propagated by some insane persons, who described the catholic claims as claims of abstract right, which under any circumstances must be conceded. There is not—there cannot be, any such thing as abstract right—the adage fiat justitia ruat calum, as applied to politics, is a brilliant absurdity ; all that the most virtuous and enlightened mind will require on a great question of policy, is, that no base motives should interfere with the distribution of national justice, not that, from a veneration for empty sounds, the being or happiness of society should be hazarded. In this limited and intelligible sense, the claims of the catholics are as much claims of right as any other pretensions submitted to the cognizance of legislative wisdom. This concession, however, alters not the basis on which these claims must for ever rest. Those rights which are recognized,—that justice which is reverenced solely because it is necessary to the support of the social order, can never demand that any thing should be done which may bring into peril the repose, nay, the very exist‘ence, of that frame of society which our duty and our interests alike call upon us to support. The catholic can gain no advantage, therefore, by stating his claim as a matter of right; his enemies may concede so much without fear or hesitation, but he himself, if he really wish to succeed, should direct all his efforts towards convincing his fellow-subjects, that he may be safely admitted into the bosom of the constitution. It is a singular circumstance, that in the beginning of the 19th century, the statesmen of the most enlightened nation of Europe should be chiefly occupied in adjusting the pretensions of religious sects; and it is no less curious, that scholastic questions should find their way into a great controversy of practical politics. It can never be an essential part of the constitution to exclude a large proportion of the subjects from the power and honours which are accessible to others. Those who maintain a different opinion, offer an insult to that constitution, of which it is probable they understand but little; they affirm, that under any circumstances, how favourable soever to the most generous and liberal principles, the British constitution prescribes the degradation of a portion of the people. Yet this venerable pile was constructed, we are told, for the security and protection, the comfort, and happiness of the whole people; it was reared, in

deed, in an age when a spirit of turbulence made it necessary to surround it with many defences, which were nei. ther essential to its integrity, nor propitious to its elegance; but when bet. ter days shall arrive—when its defenders shall become so powerful, and its enemies so weak, that it might safely be stripped of these cumbrous appendages, how stupid must that veneration for ancient deformity be, which with religious care would still retain so much of what would be at once useless and inelegant 2 If the British constitution were, indeed, such as it has been represented; if it were constructed on the principles of eternal exclusion and endless tyranny; if it i. alarm when the danger ad subsided, and immortalised animosities, which time might already have extinguished, every wise and good man would pray as devoutly for its speedy apotheosis, as he now with a fervour, not less than that of Roman patriotism, will exclaim, Esto perpetua / It is quite absurd to pretend, in defence of their exclusion from political power, that the great body of the catholics suffer no injury; that the whole clamour originates in the ambition of a few individuals, and that the Fo have no interest in the dispute. ven if it were true that only the higher orders of the catholics suffer from the existing disabilities, and if it were also true that they suffer without reason, the danger of refusing to accede to their just claims might be less imminent; but the moral obligation to grant relief would not be less binding. The most galling tyranny to its victims, is that which selects but a small number for vengeance, and leaves them without even the consolation which is derived from a community of suffering. But is it true that the higher orders—the candidates for the great honours of the state, are alone


affected by the disabilities 2 is it true that in this free country the distribution of honours is confined to certain privileged orders, and that genius humbly born dares not look forward to its due reward 2 No man will presume to say this ; so that although the remaining disabilities which attach to the catholics may affect but a small number, even of their nobles, in the way of actual exclusion from power, they damp the hopes and repress the energies of all; they wound the reputation of the whole professors of the catholic religion, and lower their rank in the scale of society. Hope and fear are passions opposite in their nature, yet analogous in their operation; when you repress hope, you mortify the feelings of a thousand, whom you do not positively injure in the vulgar sense of the word; when you excite a general alarm, you may agitate the passions of multitudes, whom the evil so much dreaded can never overtake. It is insulting to tell the catholics, that as a body they should not complain of the disabilities imposed on them, because a very inconsiderable propertion of them can ever attain the honours and the power from which they complain of a peremptory exclusion. As a question of the actual enjoyment of power and emolument, the catholic question is indeed nothing; but as a question of character and reputation in society; as a point of honour to which high-minded men must be acutely sensible, it is every thing which can agitate their feelings and rouse them to exertion. Hope is the grand stimulus to every noble enterprise; the spring which gives life to society, and generates all its comforts and refinements;" yet hope is denied to all by a system which is vainly represented as affecting only a small number of the people. By the disabilities on the catholics, the actual enjoyment of power is denied but to a

few ; yet the deadening influence of such laws extends to all who may under a free government aspire to its highest dignities; that is, embraces the whole population which professes the Roman catholic religion. It is vain and extravagant, therefore, in the highest degree, to attempt to palliate the evils . any system of exclusion; they are great and prominent; and the only question is, whether a change may be effected without danger to the civil and religious institutions of the country, which we are all bound to defend, even ad internecionem. It is an unfortunate circumstance that the enemies of catholic emancipation should have shielded themselves under the coronation oath, and should haveentangled their causewith so much sophistry, which no talent could ever reconcile to common sense and upright feelings. To conscientious scruples existing in the breast of an illustrious individual, the loyalty and affection of his people might well pay the highest respect; the paternal cares and distinguished virtuesof the sovereign displayed in a long reign, were more than sufficient to command the love and veneration of a generous people. Yet as the king of England is not responsible for any measure of policy, his ministers could not be bound by the private sentiments of their sovereign ; and although it might have been highly imprudent in them to press a measure to which he was averse, and to which he could at the last stage have given his negative, still it was their duty, if they differed in opinion, to remonstrate with firmness, yet with respect, against sentiments which they could not approve, and to refuse encountering the danger of responsibility, while they were not enabled to exercise their legitimate and constitutional influence. Thus far it was at all times their duty to go; yet, in the whole circumstances of the case, it might

have been wise for ministers, as well as for the catholics themselves, to have refrained entirely from altercations, which must always have proved unavailing. The respect, however, which is due to the opinions of the sovereign, could extend only to a decent and becoming submission in circumstances believed to be temporary; but could never require a sacrifice of the sentiments which every man is entitled to express, even on the most delicate subjects. Hence it was boldly and justly declared on many different occasions, that the coronation oath opposed no real obstacle to the concession of the catholic claims; that the oath was taken by the king as executive magistrate, and not as a branch of the legislature, and that it imported only an obligation that he should act in his executive capacity agreeably to the laws of the land as established by parliament. If a different construction were put on the coronation oath, what would be the consequence 2 That no change could, at any time, be made in the laws either as to church or state, since the coronation oath comprehends both ; that every thing which has already been done for the catholics amounted to a gross violation of the constitution; and that the legislative power of the British parliament, of which the king is the most venerable branch, must be annihilated. But this argument could not bear consideration for a moment; while it was considered as the offspring of an honourable delicacy in the highest quarter, it was with becoming patience endured; but no sooner was it brought forward as the weapon of bigotry, than it was consigned to merited scorn. It is not, therefore, because a large proportion of the people may with impunity be excluded from the benefits of the constitution ; nor because the catholics have no claim of right to an alteration of the laws; nor because

the British constitution is essentially founded on a narrow and exclusive system; nor is it because the catholics are slightly affected by the existing disabilities, of which the coronation oath for ever forbids the removal, that enlightened men have hesitated about the unqualified concession of the catholic claims; such arguments are weak and unavailing, and prove only the pious, but ignorant zeal of the disputants, their laudable eagerness to rush into the contest, without the armour which is required to sustain the fury of the assault. The wars of politicians are in general very well supplied with recruits; yet we can scarcely recollect any great conflict of this kind into o a more undisciplined rabble has been enlisted on both sides, than that which has come forward to decide this awful contest. The pretended advocates of catholic emancipation, for scurrility, insolence, and baseness, have outdone every thing which was before known, even in this discontented island. Every threadbare argument, every vulgar piece of slan: der, every obscene thing, which could be purloined from newspapers, reviews, and other magazines of such interesting curiosities, has been seized by the miserable conscripts to hide their nakedness; yet so beggarly and scandalous is the appearance of the corps, and so disorderly their movements, that some of their own chiefs have declined to march along with them in their career of turbulence and treason. On the absurd notions of some of the anti-catholics, as they call themselves, we have already remarked, as we think, with impartial severity; yet stupid as they are, their quiet and peaceable demeanour is no more to be compared to the noisy and obtrusive vulgarity of their antagonists, than a methodistical meeting to an Irish fair. It is easy to enumerate and correct the errors of the protestants;

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